Irene E. Loewenfeld, Ph.D.

Overview

Dr. Irene LoewenfeldIn 2005, the Eccles Health Sciences Library was gifted a research catalog belonging to the late Irene Loewenfeld, PhD. A prominent and respected researcher of the human eye, Dr. Loewenfeld edited and published the principal medical textbook on the pupil in 1993 after conducting over 50 years of research on the subject.

Irene E. Loewenfeld was born into a middle class Jewish family in Munich in 1921. By the time Irene was eighteen, her family had escaped from Germany after the rise of Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) party and fled to Switzerland, then to New York City. In 1940 Irene began working full time in the eye pupil research lab of Dr. Otto Lowenstein and attending courses at New York University and Columbia University. During her thirty-fourth year, 1955, she submitted a thesis on the mechanisms of reflex dilation of the pupil at the University of Bonn in Germany and returned to New York as Dr. Loewenfeld. Later that year, Dr. Loewenfeld and Dr. Lowenstein received one of the first research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By 1957 they had built an “electronic pupillograph,” the first device to accurately measure and analyze the diameter of pupils by incorporating infrared technology.

The obstacles and triumphs of Dr. Loewenfeld’s childhood and the beginning of her career are already stunningly compelling, but she went on to accomplish a great deal more. In 1983 she turned a manuscript over to Wayne State University that was published as “The Pupil.” This textbook remains the most influential historical and scientific book on the human pupil to date. What began as an enormous combined effort with Dr. Lowenstein to assemble all accumulated material, both their own clinical studies as well as historical research, was left for Irene alone to complete after Dr. Lowenstein passed in 1965. “The Pupil” became a monument to the work she and Lowenstein had started together. In a time when many women weren’t credited in textbooks they helped to write, Dr. Loewenfeld was able to publish this 2,300 page tome as the first, and sole, author.

Dr. Loewenfeld had the heart of a librarian, laying out the literature on every specific detail of pupil research, identifying the earliest mention of the topic in the scholarly literature, and showing the progression of knowledge through publications following. Not only did Irene serve as the primary author of a medical textbook and dozens of published articles on her own research, but she wrote with an unyielding sense of personal conviction. One of the unique qualities of “The Pupil” is that as a foundational medical textbook it still retains the personality and opinions of the author. Much like Irene herself, “The Pupil” is bold and passionate, her magnum opus dedicated “to those who came before us and to those who will follow–may this book form a bridge between them.”


The Irene E. Loewenfeld Neuro-Ophthalmology Collection. This collection is part of the NOVEL project. In partnership with the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.

Biography

Irene E. Loewenfeld Biography

Publications

Facts and Figures

The Pupil Volume 1 & 2The Pupil
Anatomy, Physiology, and Clinical Application
Volume 1

Part One: Anatomy and Physiology
Part Two: Special Fields in Pupillary Physiology
Part Three: Methods
Part Four: Pupillary Pathology: Symptomatology
Part Five: Pupillary Pathology: Pupillary Signs in Various Diseases

Total pages: 1,590

The Pupil
Anatomy, Physiology, and Clinical Application
Volume II

Bibliography
Sources and Permissions
Index

Total pages: 633

First Edition: Copyright © 1993 Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Mich.
Second Edition: 1999

Review

The following excerpts are from Dr. H. Stanley Thompson’s review of The Pupil: Anatomy, Physiology and Clinical Applications, Vols. I and II, by Irene E. Loewenfeld. Published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, 1993, Vol. 116, No. 1:117-119.


“To say that this is ‘a long awaited book’ is an understatement of absolutely breath-taking magnitude. Dr. Loewenfeld has been trying to understand how the pupils work-night and day-for almost 50 years. Since 1963 she has been actively working on this book, and for the last ten years has done little else. She has produced an enormous work that is a treasure trove of information and enlightenment. Volume I has almost 1,600 page of text, figures, and tables.”

“My first thought on holding this 11-pound volume in my hands was that it should have been divided into two volumes but Loewenfeld wanted the basic medical sciences and clinical medicine to come together in her book. She wanted the basic sciences to hold and read the clinical section, and she wanted the clinicians to understand the anatomy and physiology.”

“It is rare for a book to become available that speaks with such resounding authority, backed up by such a sparkling display of detailed knowledge. Such books usually summarize the life’s work of an active mind and they should be prized. The books of Stephen Polyak, Gordon Walls, and Frank Walsh come to mind. It is awesome to see Dr. Loewenfeld wade into the medical literature armed with the patience and courage of ten ordinary mortals. But it is not tenacity alone that makes her work so valuable; she reads so that she can understand, and when she’s got it, she passes it on to us in English that is beautifully clear and smooth, lively and economical. In the preface, Loewenfeld explains that she has written a few summary paragraphs for the beginning student at the front of each new section and marked them with a gray bar in the margin. Generations of students will be grateful for the extra effort she spent on these summaries.”

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Catalog

Irene E. Loewenfeld, All Collections
(25 of 355 query results found)
[#] Thumbnail Image Title Date Setname Type
1 8. Wandervers. swdtsch. Neurol by Hitzig -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
2 A Case of Raeder's Syndrome by Prusinski et al -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
3 A Clinical Comparison of Cluster Headache and Migraine by Ekbom -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
4 A Further Minute Analysis by Electric Stimulation of the So-Called Motor Region of the Cortex Cerebri in the Monkey (Macacus sinicus) 1888 NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Text
5 A Further Minute Analysis by Electric Stimulation of the So-Called Motor Region of the Cortex Cerebri in the Monkey (Macacus sinicus) -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
6 A Particular Variety of Headache by Symonds -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
7 A Record of Experiments upon the Functions of the Cerebral Cortex by Horsley & Schafer -- Illustrations and Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
8 A Record of Experiments upon the Functions of the Cerebral Cortex by Horsley and Schaefer -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
9 A Record of experiments on the effects of lesion of different regions of the cerebral hemispheres by Ferrier and Yeo -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
10 Acetylcholine in the Mechanism of Headaches of the Migraine Type by Kunkle -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
11 Acquired Oculomotor Nerve Paresis with Cyclic Spasms in a Young Woman, a Rare Subtype of Neuromyotonia 2013-09 NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text
12 Action sur le coeur de l'excitation faradique d'un lobe anterieur du cerveau, l'un des pneumogastriques etant coupe by Lepine -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
13 Adrenergic Mydriasis in Horner's Syndrome. Hydroxy-Amphetamine Test for Diagnosis of Post-ganglionic Defects by Thompson and Mensher -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
14 Adrenergic nerves to the eye and its adnexa in rabbit and guinea-pig by Ehinger -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
15 Amaurotic mydriasis. 1993-09 NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text
16 Amygdalotomy and Hypothalmamotomy -- A Comparative Study by Balasubramanian and Kanaka -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
17 An Analysis of the Forces Determining the Size of the Pupil by Davangar -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
18 An Anisocoria Produces a Small Relative Afferent Pupillary Defect in the Eye with the Smaller Pupil 1999-06 NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text
19 An Electron Microscopic Study of the Iris Stroma in Monkey and Rabbit with Particular Reference to Intercellular Contacts and Sympathetic Innervation of Anterior Layer Cells by Ringvold -- Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
20 Anatomy and Physiology of the Autonomic Nervous System 2005 NOVEL - Walsh and Hoyt Textbook Text
21 Anisocoria Associated with the Medical Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome 2000-06 NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text
22 Apparent Shape and Size of the Pupil Viewed Obliquely by Spring & Stiles -- Illustrations and Annotations [not set] NOVEL - Irene E. Loewenfeld Pupil Collection Image
23 Arachnoid cyst causing third cranial nerve palsy manifesting as isolated internal ophthalmoplegia and iris cholinergic supersensitivity. [not set] NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text
24 Arachnoid cyst causing third cranial nerve palsy manifesting as isolated internal ophthalmoplegia and iris cholinergic supersensitivity. 2008-09 NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text
25 Are We Ready to Replace Cocaine with Apraclonidine in the Pharmacologic Diagnosis of Horner Syndrome 2005-06 NOVEL - Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology Text

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Organizations

NANOS

North American Neuro-ophthalmology Society (NANOS)

The North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS) is a professional organization of about 700 members who are fully trained ophthalmologists or neurologists. It seeks to promote the field of neuro-ophthalmology by supporting all forms of education, encouraging research, fostering clinical expertise and maintaining cordial exchanges.

Exhibitions